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The cost of insuring against a catastrophic US default jumped to its  highest level in more than two years today after talks to prevent a breach of the nation’s $16.7 trillion (£10.5 trillion) debt ceiling faltered.

Trichet defends ECB independence

Jean-Claude Trichet insisted to European parliamentarians yesterday that the European Central Bank remains fully independent of national governments, despite the Bank's emergency purchase of Spanish and Italian sovereign bonds earlier this month. The ECB's President pointed out that the Bank has only bought bonds in the secondary market (rather than directly from governments) and called for all eurozone states to show "strict respect" for budgetary discipline in exchange for such market assistance.

Hermione Eyre: What use is a barcoded bottom?

There has never been a better time to be a woman, and yet in some ways, things seem to get worse all the time. Allow me to share some of the highs and lows of the past few days.

Probe into Lagarde's €400m 'sweetheart' deal for businessman

The stainless reputation of the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Christine Lagarde, is to be tested by a French court investigation.

Christine Lagarde faces court investigation over deal

A French court has decided to investigate new IMF chief Christine Lagarde's role in a $400m (£244 million) arbitration deal in favour of a controversial tycoon.

Duchess Catherine among Vanity Fair's Best Dressed

Duchess Catherine has been named one of the world's best dressed women.

A lesson in what not to wear when you're on holiday

Successful women are forever judged on their appearance. So why shouldn't men suffer the same fate, asks Harriet Walker

IMF chief warns of social unrest in Europe

The new head of the International Monetary Fund warned European leaders of the possibility of social instability as a result of the eurozone's economic problems.

Letters: Dangerous to dismiss mass killer as just ‘evil’

Anders Behring Breivik imagines himself to be a hero, bravely defending his people from the threat of contamination. He evidently hopes that others, with similar views, will be inspired to emulate his actions.

Search for safe havens as US budget impasse continues

Dollar falls sharply and gold touches record high as IMF chief piles on political pressure

Mary Ann Sieghart: Time to overturn the tyranny of porn

For a woman, it is no longer enough to be successful in your chosen field. You are expected to look gorgeous too

China gains role in top ranks of the IMF

China has secured its first top-level management post in the International Monetary Fund, in a move that recognizes Beijing's growing clout in the global economy.

IMF agress £2.6bn payout to Greece

The International Monetary Fund has approved just over €3bn (£2.6bn) to Greece in the latest instalment of a rescue package aimed at helping the country pull back from an impending debt default.

Lagarde urges Greece to take brave decisions on debt

Christine Lagarde, taking questions for the first time as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, called on Greek politicians to stick by the recently approved austerity measures, and to be "inspired by the courageous decisions made by political parties in Ireland and in Portugal" to bring their debt burdens down.

Diversity is key, says new IMF boss Christine Lagarde

The new chief of the International Monetary Fund has promised to diversify staff and make the institution more open for developing countries.

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